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Joshua v Povetkin: Recapping AJ´s previous world title defences

20 September 2018 13:00

Despite his laidback demeanour out of the ring, Anthony Joshua appears in a hurry when it comes to his boxing career.

The British heavyweight has conquered all foes so far since making the switch from the amateurs, becoming the IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight champion in 21 fights.

Next up: Alexander Povetkin.

On Saturday, Joshua will once again put his titles on the line as the headline act in a stadium fight.

Returning to Wembley, the scene of surely his greatest triumph to date, the 28-year-old faces a Russian foe who will attempt to derail any potential plans for a blockbuster unification clash with WBC holder Deontay Wilder at the same venue next April.

Here we look back at Joshua's previous outings as a world champion, recalling the five defences that have helped enhance his reputation in the division.


Dominic Breazeale

Joshua did not waste much time in booking a first defence of his IBF strap. Having beaten previous holder Charles Martin with ease early in April 2016, he was back in the ring at the end of June to face another American.

Breazeale arrived with an unbeaten 17-fight record and was taller than the champion. He had fought at the 2012 Olympics as well, only his bid for gold ended in the preliminary round.

The Californian is nicknamed 'Trouble' but he failed to provide many issues for his opponent on the night. Joshua tenderised him for several rounds before a knockout arrived in the seventh. The beaten fighter earned plaudits for his bravery but was simply outclassed at the O2 Arena.


Eric Molina

Poor Molina was served up as the appetiser before the main event in December 2016. The Texan had pushed Wilder into the ninth round 18 months earlier, but was blown away inside three in Manchester.

Joshua scored a knockdown with a big right hand and while Molina beat the count, referee Steve Gray called a halt to proceedings soon after the resumption. Wladimir Klitschko watched on from close quarters before climbing into the ring to confirm he would face the reigning IBF champion next.

Molina, meanwhile, tested positive for a banned substance after the bout. He was handed a two-year ban in May 2018, though by then he had already had two outings since losing to Joshua.


Wladimir Klitschko

Klitschko was undoubtedly the biggest test of Joshua's career. The cynics suggested the Londoner had benefited from a soft schedule in the pros, but a meeting with the experienced Ukrainian in April 2017 looked anything but easy.

As well as the IBF strap, the vacant IBO and WBA titles were on the line in front of a full house at Wembley Stadium. The meeting of two fighters at contrasting stages of their careers did not disappoint either, serving up a see-saw contest that captivated the audience.

Joshua scored a knockdown in round five but was down himself in the next. However, Klitschko failed to capitalise on a rival apparently running on empty, allowing the home favourite to regroup and force a stunning stoppage in the 11th, with Klitschko downed again before being saved by referee David Fields.


Carlos Takam

Joshua was due to take on Kubrat Pulev in October 2017 in Cardiff, only for the IBF mandatory challenger to pull out through injury. In stepped Takam, a teak-tough replacement with a reputation for making life difficult for his foes.

He certainly left a mark on the Briton, an early clash of heads drawing blood from Joshua's nose, while Takam suffered a nasty cut in a fourth round that also saw him knocked down.

However, the substitute stuck around until he was eventually stopped midway through the 10th. Takam felt he could have carried on, but Joshua extended his record of wins inside the distance to 20 after a less-than-memorable outing.


Joseph Parker

The unification clash between two unbeaten heavyweights in their prime saw Joshua head back to the Welsh capital at the end of March this year. In the opposite corner was Parker, a New Zealander based in Las Vegas who held the WBO title.

For the first time, Joshua was unable to get the job done inside the distance. His risk-free policy of staying out of range allowed him to put rounds in the bank, leading to a landslide verdict from the judges after a slow-burner that was more intriguing than entertaining.

Parker – returning after surgery on both elbows – was a tough nut to crack but barely threatened an upset. He achieved the honour of becoming the first boxer to take AJ 12 rounds, but left the ring minus his belt. For Joshua, it was a performance that demonstrated he is about far more than just raw power.

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